From the dark depths of the Mekong River in Southeast Asia, a new world record has emerged. The largest freshwater fish ever caught was caught and released last week off the island of Koh Preah on the Mekong River in the Stung Treng area of northern Cambodia. Fisherman Moul Thun, looking for a smaller quarry to sell at the local fish market, accidentally tied up the giant cave on the night of June 13, using a simple hook and rope.
However, instead of bringing its capture to market, Thun called in a team of scientists working with the Wonders of the Mekong, a USAID-supported research project studying the biodiversity, climate and hydrology of the Mekong River Basin. The group had installed underwater receivers in the area over the past few months for a project tracking fish migration. During that time, they had asked local fishermen to contact them if they landed any fish of interest. In recent months, they have helped label and release two other giants.
But these were not world records. FISHBIO, a partner in the Wonders of the Mekong project, officially weighed Thun’s catch of about 13 feet from the snout to the tail with 661 kilograms, breaking the previous record, a 646 kilogram Mekong giant catfish, caught in the Mekong in 2005, in Thailand.
Zeb Hogan, a fish biologist at the University of Nevada who runs the Mekong Wonders and presents the National Geographic TV series Monster Fish, told National Geographic, “This proves that these critically endangered underwater leviathans still exist. “.
FISHBIO labeled the giant freshwater cave and released it back into the river, expressing optimism that it remained healthy and would survive the 18-hour process from capture to release. The label, which emits an acoustic signal, will help them track fish movements and learn more about species behavior.
Hogan said the giant toads feed on shrimp, mollusks and small fish at the bottom of the river, which he sucks with his banana-shaped mouth. It is believed that the Stung Treng River stretch is an important terrain for puppies for the larger fish of the river. Hogan told NBC News, “It’s a particularly healthy stretch of river with lots of deep pools – pools up to 90 feet deep. “We began to focus on this area as a riverbed that is particularly important for biodiversity and fisheries, and as a last resort for these large species.”
However, Hogan noted how the mysteries of the world’s largest freshwater fish remain mysterious. He told NBC News that the catch “stressed how little we know about many of these giant freshwater fish. You have a fish that now holds the record for the world’s largest freshwater fish and we know little about it. ”
For his efforts, Thun was paid market value for his amazing capture.